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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Funding Increase for Prison Treatment Programs

The United States federal and state institutions for housing prisoners are full of drug addicts and alcoholics who need treatment. Unfortunately, finding the funding to treat millions of people can be quite difficult despite how desperately treatment programs are required.

In the past, treatment programs in prisons and jails were practically unheard of; people convicted of a crime, even if it was a crime of possession, were locked up and were expected to sober up on their own. More and more states are realizing that treating prisoners may actually reduce recidivism on a large scale. Now states are actually increasing funding which is allocated for prison treatment programs.

One of those states is Kentucky, which has increased funding to treat prisoners with addictions to $7 million, up from $1.1 million six years ago.  30 percent of the state’s inmates with substance abuse problems return to jail, but with treatment, that number drops to 20 percent, The Courier-Journal reports.

“Investing in treatment programs is absolutely a prudent use of resources,” said Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown. “Substance abuse is the number one driver in our inmate population. It tears apart families, and communities in general. Anything we can do to break that cycle will improve the overall public safety of Kentucky.”

“Research has consistently shown that prison-based programs like therapeutic communities, particularly when followed by after care in the community, are effective in reducing drug use and recidivism after release,” Michele Tindall of the University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research told the newspaper.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky have found that participants in a jail-based treatment program reduced their drug use by 60 percent after they were released.

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